Monday, April 30, 2012

{chit chat} A List of Links for your Monday Morning

Happy Monday!  My weekend was busy, busy with a painted living room, a soccer game and sickness hitting 3/5 of us!  And while all of those things are incredibly exciting (yeah right), I thought you may be more interested in a few things I've found over the past few days.  Enjoy your morning coffee and click away!

1. Emily at Jones Design Company asked a thought-provoking question on her blog that I've been thinking about all weekend: What kind of a family are you?  What is your family motto? 

2. Sick of all the junk TV being marketed to little kids these days?  Be sure to check out Clara Tales, an inspiring new project in the works from a Mamma of three.  She currently has one film created and is hoping for financial support to create even more.  If you're interested, be sure to check out this page to donate.  She is also looking for web/logo design and marketing help if that's your specialty.   

3. Did you read about this mini-miracle?  I am so, so happy for Ana...I'm sure pregnancy will be MUCH more enjoyable now!

4. My food cravings are all over the place.  I wouldn't say I have specific cravings this time around, just random "must make this now!" type things.  This and this will probably be on the menu at some point this week. 

5. Found this idea via Pinterest and love it!  I'm trying to overcome my OCD tendencies and instead of waiting to start until the new year, I want to begin now.  Anyone have a favorite Bible verse that really speak to active little boys?  I'm open to ideas.

6. Isn't this vase so gorgeous?   It would make such a thoughtful gift for newlyweds, but I kinda want one for myself!

7. You must read the story about this amazing 17-year-old girl named Rae!  She is running from Boston to Huntington Beach barefoot (yes, barefoot!), raising money for the organization Soles4Souls.  What an amazing and inspirational girl!  Be sure to check out her page...she needs host homes in Ohio and much of the midwest.

8. Grace at Camp Patton posted these drool-worthy sweet treats.  Do I dare?  My attempts at a "healthy prenatal weight gain" are surely going to go out the window!

Friday, April 27, 2012

{recording life} Currently...

his CHEESE face!

time : 7:15 am, bright and early!
place : in my kitchen
drinking : a glass of this Iced Coffee
watching : my sweet boys chow down on their breakfast.  No funny business when eating around here!     
reading : Four Spirits: A Novel , although if I'm being honest, not much has been accomplished lately.  Reading makes me fall asleep!
feeling : like baking something sweet today.  Should I go with the crowd-favorite chocolate chip cookie?  Or maybe these?
thinking : about our sweet baby in utero and how blessed we are.  I've read a few heart-breaking miscarriage stories this week and I am full of grief for those devastated Mammas.   
creating : plans for a new and improved homeschooling storage system for next year.  Now if only that closet would clean itself...
hoping : to finally get my act together and paint my living room.  I've had this paint since February and am dying to get that checked off my list of to-dos. 
needing : some one-on-one time with the hubby this weekend.  Our lives are moving too fast...I feel like I barely saw him this week!  Maybe an at-home date night is needed.
wondering : if you'd be interested in trying out Kiva?  (I wrote about my experience with the organization here.)  A generous anonymous funder has given you the ability to try it out for free. Click here for all the details and to sign up!  

Have a great weekend, friends!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

{etsy finds} Sugar and Spice, and Everything Nice

It happens every time.  With every pregnancy so far, I have been quite convinced from the very beginning that I was carrying a boy.  This pregnancy has been no exception.  Much to the dismay of many curious strangers, we aren't "trying for a girl" and I actually would be quite excited for boy #4.  BUT...there's always a small time period (usually right before the "big" ultrasound) where I start to question: What if?

So here are a few sweet things I found on etsy...just in case:

but wait, there's deals...
the Art Print was created by trafalgarssquare: enter LUCKYME at checkout to get 36% off! 
the pink gown is made by Nostalgic Graphic Tees: enter 25SPRING at checkout to get 25% off! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

{read along} Mitten Strings for God: One on One Time

Last summer, I was reading Mitten Strings for God and recording my thoughts here on the blog, chapter by chapter.  Somehow I misplaced the book and that series fell to the wayside.  Funny what a little spring cleaning will do...I found the book again and decided to start back up!  You can find my previous entries here.

"Mothers can get so caught up in the caretaking that we may overlook each child's need to be seen as an individual, with unique tastes and temperaments and gifts.  But mothering is not just a simple matter of meeting our children's physical needs.  We must also strive to meet them at a deeper level, recognizing in each one a special character and fate.  It is up to us, as mothers, to see these soul qualities and to honor and protect them.  Alone with our children, one on one, we have a chance to see and hear and accept them as they really are, right now, in this moment.  We see them not in relation to their siblings, friends, or peers, or as a piece of the large family puzzle - but as unique individuals, each with a particular destiny to fulfill on this earth.  Such recognition is a basic human need." - page 81-82

Food for thought, right?  I definitely am guilty of seeing my children as a collective sometimes: get the boys lunch, put on a movie for the boys, time for the boys' baths, etc.  But with a new baby coming, this chapter couldn't come at a more perfect time.  More children equals a stretched Mamma.  And while I can't promise that I'll have it all together (in fact I can guarantee it'll be quite the opposite!), I do want to start brainstorming ideas to give M, D and J each a little quality time.  

A few ideas so far:
  • Leave the baby with Daddy and take J grocery shopping with a special stop at the bakery.
  • Declare to the house that it is "M and Mamma" hour and shut the door.  Practice reading (him to me or me with a read-aloud).
  • Take D outside to play soccer in the yard, one on one complete with smack talk (his favorite!).
  • Surprise M and D with a trip to the movie theater.
  • Find an easy recipe and let J help.
What do you do in your home for one-on-one time with the kiddos?

Monday, April 23, 2012

{chit chat} Confirmation and other Miscellany

1. Thank you so much for the e-mails and comments on Thursday's post.  I really felt the prayers.  With a little sleep and a few days to process everything, I think I am in a much better place.  Looking forward to a more positive week!

2. I had the huge honor of being my baby sister's Confirmation sponsor this weekend.  The Bishop's homily was amazing and even though it was geared toward the teens, I came away with so many nuggets of wisdom to ponder.  Funny how some themes are applicable to any age group.

3. Spring is here and I'm loving the fresh food we've been able to pick up.  Exhibit A: grape tomatoes!  They were as delicious to eat as they were to photograph. 

4. The D-Man has become Mr. Personality lately.  One of his favorite games is to have me photograph his many "faces".  He says, "See this face" or "What about this face, Mamma?".  Such a comedian...I just love that special boy. 

Miscellany Monday @
lowercase letters

Friday, April 20, 2012

{giving} And the winner is...

Thank you so much for everyone who entered the Mission Coffee giveaway!  Without further ado...

Congrats to Camille from Life in Mod!  Look for an e-mail in your inbox soon!

If you're interested in purchasing some coffee for yourself, please get in contact with Yong here.  There is a three bag minimum and depending on her stock, you can choose from either Honduran or Nicaraguan coffee!  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

{ramblings} Thursday


Good morning, mammas.  I had a nice post planned for today, full of sunshine and rainbows...but honestly, that's not how I'm feeling this week.  I am weary.

I don't know if it's the same for you, but it seems like my life is a bunch of hills and valleys.  We can go so long on the top of that hill - happy well-rested boys, few discipline problems, a clean home and full bellies.  Life seems so simple then, almost easy.  

And then come the valleys.  And boy do they come hard, every single time.  Extended family issues, a lot of potential changes for my little family, challenges with my boys and oh yeah - pregnancy! - has just compounded this week.  I am tired and my heart is heavy.

I used to live my life thinking that no one needed to know I was struggling.  Pull up my big girl pants, plaster that smile on my face and act like everything is fine.  No one asks and I suffer in silence.  Has anyone else done that or was I the only fool to think it was okay to live life wearing a mask?  With a little maturity, I've realized that I don't want to be that person.  I want to help and encourage others during my hills so that when the valleys come, hopefully someone will reach out to me. 

So that's where I'm at right now.  Sorry you came to Big White Farmhouse for such a downer post.  I'll be back tomorrow to announce the winner of the coffee giveaway.  Entries are SUPER low so please feel free to enter (my pride thanks you!).  Giveaway post is here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

{i want to remember} - 4/16/12

Sometimes life gets so busy that I forget to notice and appreciate the little things. Here are some of the things I am loving lately:

I WANT TO REMEMBER... that life isn't about the accumulation of "stuff" but of memories.  Lots of purging and organizing around here and the boys don't even know the difference.  I'm trying to remember that even though the world tells you that kids "need" all kinds of things...experience tells me otherwise.

I WANT TO REMEMBER... J's sweet hand on my cheek when I get the opportunity to rock him to sleep.  These moments are quickly passing with that big boy...I'm going to savor them while I can.

I WANT TO REMEMBER... how much fun two big boys can have with a new pool.  Last week (when it was too cold to swim) the pool became a ship, a fort and even a place to sit and read books.  Now they are so excited for 90 degree days and using it for its intended purpose!

I WANT TO REMEMBER... what a selfless man I married.  Even though the pollen is out of control and his allergies are practically debilitating, he's still out there playing soccer in the backyard with the kids.  I am blessed.  

P.S. Don't forget to enter the Honduran coffee giveaway!  Enjoy a good cuppa Joe while supporting a farmer at the same time!  You can find more info here

Friday, April 13, 2012

{giving} Mission Coffee Ministry & a GIVEAWAY!

Ready for a great "It's a Small World" story?  So late one night months ago, I was browsing Facebook when I noticed one of my friends had liked an organization called The Shepherd's Cafe.  In true nosey fashion, I clicked through and fell in love with what I read: a Catholic coffee house created with young adults in mind, used to help the community grow in faith with speakers and music.  How awesome, right?  I was bummed I lived so far away from Texas!

This video explains their mission so much better:

If you watched the video, you may have noticed the Cafe's secondary ministry, Mission Coffee.  This ministry is amazing!  Their goal is to help impoverished coffee farmers in third-world countries, right now in Honduras and Nicaragua.  Here's the "It's a Small World" part: I have close friends who have served on mission trips to these same small Honduran towns.  I have a friend who is a long-term missionary in Honduras (she's even pictured in the video!).  These connections drew me to this organization even more.  And now I want to share it with you!

Whether you are Catholic or not, I think everyone can stand behind an organization that goes out of their way to support farmers and provide them with a fair wage.  Something so simple can change a person's life, change a family's life.  And we can help!  

If you are interested in purchasing, please contact Yong here to order.  There is a three bag minimum for shipment. 

So now onto the fun part: I'm hosting my first GIVEAWAY on the Big White Farmhouse!  To help spread the word about this great organization, I want to give one of you a bag of Honduran coffee to try!  

Why you should comment for a chance to win:
    The coffee is delicious
You are supporting a farmer in a third-world country
The coffee is awesomely packaged...perfect for gift-giving (in case you aren't a coffee drinker)
It's FREE!
For an entry, all you need to do is comment at the end of this post!  If you're extra ambitious, here a few ways you can earn extra entries:
  • Become a follower of the Big White Farmhouse and let me know that you did
  • Like The Shepherd's Cafe page on Facebook and come back here to let me know you did
  • Spread the word about the giveaway through Facebook and/or Twitter and let me know you did.

The giveaway will run until next Thursday night, April 19th, at 9PM EST.  I will announce the winner Friday, April 20!   Good luck!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

{deals} Window Shopping with One Kings Lane

Ready for a little window shopping?  I've found some amazing deals on One Kings Lane this morning!

I was really drawn to this piece of abstract art.  Aren't the colors perfect?  I can picture it in a white kitchen over a breakfast table. 

How gorgeous is this pendant light?  I love the blown glass look and the way it embraces both the historical and the modern. 

This is such a great price for two items that will get tons of use!  Love these for entertaining...I'm imagining iced tea, lemonade or even orange juice for a brunch.

I already own a similar basket, but loved the neutral look of this one!  These are so handy for corralling toys and "kids stuff" while still looking organized and stylish.  You can also use them for magazines or even blanket storage.

Seashell - $12
A nod to summer and the beach, isn't this white resin seashell fun?  I like the simplicity.  It would look so darling on an entry table atop a pile of books.

These are just a handful of the amazing things on One Kings Lane this week - you must check out all the fun home decor!
**referral link included*

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

{family favorites} Magic Treehouse & Learn to Draw Books

This post could also be called "How We Managed Morning Sickness and Still Did School"!

PreK had a different look during my first trimester.  Instead of art projects and thematic units, we pared down to the bare minimum.  Honestly, if I had it my (selfish) way, I would have stopped completely.  Fortunately for me, I have very persistent and eager to learn children.  It's really because of them that great memories were still created. 
So today, I wanted to share two things that really got us through March!

We spent a lot of time cuddling together on the couch reading this series aloud.  The boys were enthralled with the stories and we had a lot of great discussions afterward.  With the exception of a few "animal spirit" references (which I just omitted), I think these books are a great way to introduce history and science to my kids.

(2) What Shall I draw? and Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals
Need an activity that your kids can do on their own?  Pull out these books!  At first, I wasn't sure M was old enough to really get the process, but after a quick run through, he was off!  The little brothers would sit next to him, watching quietly as he created sea monsters or castles, birds or helicopters.  These were so helpful when the nausea was especially bad.

Monday, April 9, 2012

{family} A Spring Adventure List

Springtime is here and the weather is amazing.  Is it the same where you live?  I want to take full advantage because I know we'll be sweating bullets before long, which is something this pregnant Mamma is not looking forward to!  So in an attempt to maximize our fun during this always-way-too-short season, I created a "Spring Adventure List"!  (You may recall the Fall Adventure List I made last October.)

Just like last fall, I've included a bunch of things and I'm sure we'll only be able to do portion of the list. But I'm sure it will become a nice resource for our family to come back to year after year...I'm thinking this is how family traditions are made, right?  Let me know if you have any must-do activities for spring!

2012 Spring Adventure List
Play soccer as a family in the backyard
Go through the boys' clothing and toys and donate unused to charity
Make Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Cupcakes
Plant flowers in the front yard
Go strawberry picking
Go on a hike
Have the boys each pick a vegetable to grow
Bake a peach cobbler
Visit the local Children's Museum
Buy a new kiddie pool
Have a picnic outside
Make homemade popsicles
Discover a new park
Go peach picking
Enjoy a dinner date with the husband on the back deck (with candles!)
Search for rocks and then paint them
Go to the zoo
Buy seed for the bird feeder
Choose a new read-aloud chapter book for bedtime
Blow bubbles
Create a care package for a far-away friend
Make peach lemonade

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

{kids crafts} Mosaic Pictures

Signing off for the rest of the week to prepare for Easter.  Blessings to you and your family.  See you Monday!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

{recording life} Project Life: Week Thirteen

The Mom Creative

Last week's Project Life was a lot of fun to put together.  I finally bit the bullet and purchased the Variety Pack of new pages from Becky Higgins.  LOVE all of the different options!

Week 12 was the first week I used Design F, so I knew going into Week 13 that I wanted to include a lot of little pieces of life to fit all of the pockets.  Always a good idea to plan ahead of time, so I'm not scrambling for stuff at the end of the week!
A look at the whole week:

Left side.  I love how this design allows me to include so many little stories.  This week, I have a couple of M's drawings, a grocery list, my latest pregnancy craving, and a few pictures trimmed to 3x4". 

I also love to include little notes to my boys, so I have one to M explaining the back story of his drawing and a secret one for Baby #4.  I always loved those secret flap books growing up, so I imagine it will be fun when my kids are older to discover all of the secret letters I include in the Project Life books.

Right side.  A postcard sent to us from Disney, a little love note to D, and the rest of the page is all about M's first soccer game.  Have I mentioned I'm a brand new soccer mom?

Insert for the week.  I used Design D and just cut off the two vertical 4x6's at the end.  I wanted to include some of the fun projects we did for school (finally back to a little more structure!) and the back is full of sidewalk chalk pictures.  I'm loving printing the horizontal 3x4" size!
Be sure to check out all of the other Project Life inspiration at the Mom Creative!

{More of my Project Life pages here}

Monday, April 2, 2012

{chit chat} What We've Been Up To...

Hello friends!  First, I want to thank all of you for your kind comments on our news.  We really are so thrilled and are already counting the months until we can hold our newest addition.  Six months to go, but I know the time is just going to fly by!

So recap time: the month of March was pretty much a blur for me.  Weeks of morning (and afternoon and evening) sickness left me in "survival mode" and I spent a lot of the day "supervising" from the couch.  But with three little guys in the house, life must still go on.  When I didn't feel deathly ill, I was making up for lost time with my favorite dudes.  Here's just a peek at what we were up to last month: 

Since I was barely functioning on most days, we did an open-ended version of school.  That's a nice way of saying: I got out the craft supplies and they were left to their own devices.  Watercolors were a popular choice.   

A new privilege: computer time on PBS Kids.  If they've been good listeners that day, M gets to play for about 20 minutes (or until I remember to kick him off).  A BIG incentive for good behavior!

Well it happened.  After years and years of fighting it, we finally bit the bullet and bought a new-to-us minivan.  I never, ever thought I'd see this day, but now that it's here, I have to admit: I kinda love it.  Only fellow minivan mammas will understand! 

The weather has just been gorgeous lately!  Highs in the 70s and low 80s for weeks now.  We've been spending as much time as possible outside before the inevitable heat wave pushes us back indoors.  Chalk has been a family favorite around these parts. 

And finally, just a cute picture of baby J, who isn't really a baby anymore.  This kid is full of personality and sass, always keeping me on my toes.  His latest: I tried singing him a song, and he put his finger to his mouth and shushed me!  Well then...ahem.  Good thing I fall in love with him all over again when I watch him sleep.

How was March for you?
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